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Elite: Dangerous Review

By on February 6th, 2015 1:03 pm

Elite: Dangerous | Engage!

Elite: Dangerous is the birth child of the founder of the Space Sim genre, David Braben. The original game called “Elite” changed the lives of many gamers when it was released in 1984 on the BBC Micro, Acorn Electron and later the Commodore 64 (my system of choice at the time), with its 3D vector style graphics and open universe game play which had never been seen before on any system, and deserved the Game of the Year awards for many of the gaming magazines of the day.

A sequel called Frontier: Elite II was released in 1993 which expanded on the original with 3D polygon style graphics, realistic star systems and planetary landings to enhance an already legendary game. I myself lost many hours of my youth to Frontier trading, pirating and flying around an isometric universe.

Elite (1984) and Frontier: Elite II (1993) - from left to right

Elite (1984) and Frontier: Elite II (1993) - from left to right

The original Elite had a total of 8 galaxies, each with 256 planets to explore. Elite: Dangerous has a total of 400 billion stars all with the potential to have planets and space stations. By my rough calculation that amounts to 60 stars per player if every person on the planet decided to play the game. This shows how enormous Elite: Dangerous is and how much potential there is for growth within the lore of the franchise.

During the kickstarter process many of the original backers were under the impression that the game would be able to be played offline, however this game is online-only. A solo option for playing without other human players is available but you still have to launch the game through the online launcher.

Elite: Dangerous offers you two play modes: – Solo, which has you as the only human player in a universe of NPCs (I’ll talk about the NPCs later); and Open Play, which has you playing with people connected to the same server and a universe of NPC characters as well. Another game mode being planned is Private Group which should allow you and your friends to play and share rewards but at the time of this review it hadn’t arrived yet.

I have heard stories of players waiting at new player spawn points to attack new players instantly. Many users have complained that this will kill the community as players won’t bother with the game. On one hand I see the point of not being happy about this but on the other hand this is an open living universe where crime can occur and I hear reports of people “reporting” the location of these Pirates so more experienced players can attack them and claim the bounty. My solution to this issue would be to have NPC System Police forces based in the new player systems and surrounding areas that could be called to assist new players to offer some protection.

Now onto the NPCs, they are characters created by the server who fly around the galaxy making the universe feel alive. They can be aggressive and attack you or just fly around the galaxy going about their business. How you choose to interact with them is up to you. You can let them go about their business or attack them and steal their cargo, but remember these NPC characters will have different levels of dogfighting skill so only pick a fight if you feel you can win because the moment your shields drop and you see your cockpit window crack from weapons fire it’s very scary and can be expensive as when you die you lose everything, cargo, upgrades and ship unless you’ve paid for insurance. If you are killed in combat with no insurance you’ll spawn in a random station with the base ship for the role you picked so basically you are starting again, so make sure you get insurance!!

An issue I have experienced with NPC characters is some of them have no idea how to dock with stations and will hover over the landing pad until they get blown to bits or bounce around launch bay until they blow up. This needs to be fixed fast as it causes major issues when the NPC crashes into your ship as it bounces off the walls.

Elite: Dangerous | Guess it's time to reevaluate my loadout, and get some fresh supplies.

When you initially start the game you have to decide which of the starter packs or professions on offer you wish to pick, each will set you up with a different ship/loadout and a small amount of credits to start you off. These are Imperial Bounty Hunter, Federal Trader, Pirate, Independent Trader and Explorer. You can be a pirate if you pick the explorer pack but you might need to purchase additional equipment, so it’s best to pick the style of gameplay you wish to follow from the beginning of your adventure and change professions later in the game if you want too.

Now, the exciting mind blowing enormity of the universe around you becomes a reality. You start docked inside a space station and after a bit of tinkering with equipment and maybe purchasing a few of the station commodities on offer you select launch and watch as your ship is lifted out into the vastness of space. Your initial station is random spawn point dependent on the style of play you’ve picked, there’s no point a trader spawning in a station light years away from the trade lines and there’s no point an explorer starting in the middle of Federation space.

Faction Emblems | The Federation (Sol, where Earth is); The Empire (Achenar); and The Alliance (Alioth)

The Federation (Sol) | The Empire (Achenar) | The Alliance (Alioth)

This brings me onto the factions in the game, there are currently 3 main factions who control specific areas of known space: – The Federation are based in Sol (where Earth is); The Empire are based in a system called Achenar; and The Alliance which are based in Alioth. Each control an area of the galaxy under their influence along with many independent systems with no allegiance to any side. You have a reputation on each faction dependent on how you act within their borders and towards the other factions. Kill an Empire ship and gain a small amount of reputation with the other factions; get caught carrying slaves in federation space and you’ll drop in reputation with them.

Now, many people’s first impressions are that this is just an open universe trading game with a few added jobs to keep it going. I don’t share this view. When Frontier developments were asked about “missions” within the game they replied:

“Think of it like a soap opera or box set TV series, where you never know what your heroes or villains will do next. Here you can help (or hinder) them. We will test players’ skills, knowledge and morality, and tell an unfolding story in real time, in which players decide the outcomes and can be the stars” -Frontier developments

This response excited me enormously as the galaxy you “live” in will change and you can have a say in how it changes, as these events unfold. Want to be in the thick of the action deciding who becomes the new emperor? Take a flight to the systems in the thick of the action. Have no interest in politics? Stay in the outer rim trading, exploring etc. Myself I haven’t experienced the story events yet so I feel like I’m watching a documentary rather than an action packed episode of Breaking Bad or The Walking Bad. I do think a better system of delivery for these “story” messages is needed, maybe when you dock a newsflash comes across your cockpit telling you a story event is unfolding as they seem to get lost in the Galnet newsfeed. I have noticed systems changed between Federation and Empire and also independent systems aligning with one of the factions which shows the universe is constantly evolving.

Elite Dangerous | Approaching a planet

Before I continue I feel I need to point out some information about the controls of the game. Nearly every key on the keyboard has a function, so playing on a laptop requires at least an external mouse to play. The Elite community are currently swearing by the Thrustmaster HOTAS joystick, which sold out at Amazon UK due to the demand at release, as a must. But, I have found that a correctly configured Xbox One controller works well for the less hardcore among us. To be honest, I spent my first few hours flying around the space station fine-tuning the controls and configurations of the controller and keyboard. This is another reason that makes Elite: Dangerous stand at the pinnacle of Space Simulators, you can configure everything, it supports multiscreen so you can have each control panel in its own monitor. Add to this the head motion tracker or Oculus and you can make your own cockpit in your bedroom.

Now back to my first few hours of the game. I spent my first few minutes in the Elite universe staring at my screen because, I kid you not, it looks spectacular. You see distant stars, galaxies and nebulae in amazing detail that I’ve never seen before in a space simulation. It makes you feel very small and also a bit nervous as to what’s waiting for you out there. Add to this the classical style musical score that alters depending on the situation and you will have an audio/visual bonanza of stimulation that leaves you stunned.

Anyway, back to my adventure. So having got all the settings to my liking, and feeling a bit more confident with my ability to fly my ship without crashing into a star or planet, I had chosen the explorer starter pack as it starts you in a good distance from the pesky noob pirates I hear from the community are targeting other new players in the more populated system. I set course for the nearest unexplored system and heard myself saying “Engage” as I started my jump drive. A few Star Wars/Star Trek style of warp seconds later my jump drive disengaged and I found myself flying full throttle into the system’s sun. I hadn’t realised that you jump into a system at the central point, i.e. the star. I veered off as I entered the corona and my temperature shot up to 145 degrees. I took a few seconds to compose myself because my heart was racing and my palms had become rather sweaty.

Elite: Dangerous | Oops, jumped next to a star... Boy, it's getting hot in here.

Now it was time to be the Marco Polo of space. I turned to face the star and my Discovery scanner started scanning. I few seconds later the sun was scanned and I turned my attention to find the hidden gems (planets, asteroids etc) in the system. To do this you have to “fire” your discovery scanner to ping the system, this will show you the orbit of objects that you have to fly to and scan just like you did with the star. Be warn, some objects can take a long time to reach. It took me over 15 minutes of flying at full throttle to reach a planet. Some people would call this boring while hardcore space sim fans will understand that space is vast and you can’t just expect to get from A to B in a few seconds.

The more you scan in a system the more credits you can get paid so it’s worth scanning everything you can reach within your fuel limits. This is where it got a bit interesting. I noticed movement on my radar and was told I’d been scanned. I was being stalked by an NPC who was after my cargo of Food Cartridges I’d bought at the space station. I was ordered to dump my cargo and leave the area. Like hell I will. I throttled up and spun my ship around to face my aggressor who began opening fire at me. The dogfighting reminded me of my time playing Wing Commander, you’d spin your ship around to face the enemy, he did the same, the speed towards him firing all your guns, he does the same, the pull away at the last minute to repeat the process until one of you is destroyed. I’m sure fighting a real person is a completely different kettle of fish but in my time of playing I haven’t come across any aggressive players, yet.

Elite: Dangerous | Dump my cargo and leave the area? Like hell I will.

This is the beauty of Elite: Dangerous. If you feel like being in the thick of the action killing players who have bounties on their head you can do it. If you feel like getting away to a quiet corner of the galaxy for a bit of low risk trading you can do it. I heard the game described as “A vast universe with the depth of a puddle”. To me this is something someone with no imagination would say. The game is whatever you want it to be, basic space trading game to full on Wing Commander style space battles against other players.

Every game has issues though, there are still a few bugs and server issues even though the game is in full release. But, to Frontier’s credit, any problem you have is always answered so you feel valued as an Elite pilot and feel like you’re helping to build the game into the monster it will become.

Frontier have promised future expansions and updates to add new features to the game and you have to ask “Where are the Thargoids?” and when will they make an appearance. If you didn’t play the original Elite, the Thargoids were an insectoid race who were the “enemy”. I see an alien invasion of our universe as a possible expansion in the future.

I can’t finish this review without mentioning the already brimming community of players who have supported the game through kickstarter to where the game is today. Without them Elite: Dangerous wouldn’t even be off the drawing board and they deserve a lot of credit for sticking with it through to where it is today. The Facebook page is full of friendly advice from players and I have asked many questions there myself and get replies pretty much instantly so a big well done to them.

Verdict

I now have many hours of gameplay clocked into Elite: Dangerous and wanted to share my experienced views and opinions. As I said early, the game is enormous. Is this a good thing? I’m not sure yet. I enjoyed the flying from system to system, exploring, trading and collecting bounties but spent a lot of time feeling like the universe was devoid of life. The potential is there, don’t get me wrong, but the developers need to keep their eyes on the ball and not ignore Elite for different projects because it needs expanding. I believe the developers are using this stage of release to iron out any bugs or gameplay issues that might exist, which is great, it shows a dedication and attention to detail which some developers don’t seem to have these days.

Elite: Dangerous is a game that many “Children of the 80s” have dreamt about. Now it’s here, is it making those dreams come true?

As one of those children I say it probably will. You are a small piece of a universe size puzzle that you have the power to alter in whatever way you see fit. Not many games have had the ability to do this with probably the exception of EVE online but not having to pay a monthly subscription fee gives Elite: Dangerous the potential to be the stand out leader of space simulators. The arrival of Star Citizen later this year may try and knock Elite off its perch. Will it? We’ll have to wait and see and if it keeps heading in its current direction Elite will be with us for many years to come.

It’s vast, it’s engrossing and a game that you can play your own way without limit, and when Frontier begin releasing additional content this game could become an all-time great.

Elite Dangerous | Space simulation and trading game by Frontier Developments

Elite: Dangerous (PC)

Buy at the Elite: Dangerous online store.

Space Sector score:
8.1/10
great
The Good:
– Vast, open universe with endless possibilities and affected by your actions
– Amazing graphics and soundtrack
– Customisable controls to suit your style of play
The Bad:
– Can seem a bit “empty” at times
– NPCs committing suicide

Andy Monks, also known as andyM here on SpaceSector, first started getting into gaming when he was 5 years old playing games like Pong and Pole Position on the Atari 2600. He then progressed onto the Commodore 64 playing classics like Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy. His real love for games came when he was bought his first PC with the game Theme Park, this opened the doors to the world of games like Command & Conquer, Wing Commander and Civilization. Andy has a passion for PC, XBOX & PlayStation games and enjoys grand strategy, management, 4X and RPGs. He looks forward to writing for Space Sector in the future and hopes his work is enjoyed by you all. See all of Andy’s posts here.

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48 Comments


  1. RandomBlue says:

    I was a kickstarter of this game and really wanted it to be good but I just find it extremely boring. I was hoping for Independance War style realistic space combat and what we have is shoe-horned air combat in a space game. The heavy nerfing of yaw is painful, especially if you try and dock and realize you’re facing the same way. Since you turn slower (for no physics reason) when you’re going too slow or fast, it takes 20-30 seconds to do a 180 in dock.

    Docking also takes quite a while and I spent most of my play time docking, undocking or flying from place to place.

    • RandomBlue says:

      Actually, take a look at your review, there’s really nothing there about combat at all in a space combat, trading and exploration game. That pretty much sums up the experience.

      • Andy Monks says:

        I thought the combat wasn’t the focus of the game to be honest. I felt it’s a open world space simulator that you can pick what you want to do. The combat is there but isn’t the “point” of the game……..yet

    • Dark Helmet says:

      Turn off flight-assist, give your ship a tiny bit of thrust and you’ll turn a lot faster. Again, just a bit or you’re liable to careen off into some structure.

      And make sure you turn flight assist on immediately after. Practice this in open space and you’ll find over flying landing pads won’t be so annoying.

  2. Jeff P says:

    Online only? Ugh.

    I played WoW for seven years, and that cured me of both multiplayer and online games forever.

    I too was a fan of Elite and Frontier “back in the day” and would like to revisit the experience, but online-only puts the player at the mercy of someone else’s server and severely limits the game’s lifespan.

    A real shame.

    • RandomBlue says:

      There is a singleplayer style mode that’s basically the same but without other players. It still needs to log you into the server to play but you’re not forced into multiplayer.

      • Jeff P says:

        What happens when the developer “moves on” and decides to take down the server? Some games I play are no longer supported by the publisher/developer but still load and run fine. The must-log-on feature suggests that when Frontier Developments goes away, so will your rather expensive ($60) copy of Elite: Dangerous.

        • Andy Monks says:

          The Elite franchise is Brabens baby. He has held the rights for the game for over twenty years waiting for the right time to release the game that he feels does Elite justice. He isn’t going to suddenly move on and close the server and even if he did it would be quite simple to patch the game to offline. Braden has a vision of a living universe which won’t happen overnight, he’s taking it step by step.

        • alienjd says:

          I don’t think it would be simple to patch the game for offline play. From what I’ve read the reason you need to be online is because a lot of the economic and political systems are generated by the online players. Offline play uses that data to provide the “single player” game.

          Braben has said they plan on archiving the servers so they can preserve the game state and, if they ever shut down, they would release these archives so people could play the game but that the game would be frozen with no new events etc.

          To me it sounds like they just haven’t built any content for the game and plan on having the players generate content. Which is fine but that wasn’t how it was pitched. Glad I decided not to back it. There’s nothing wrong with what they’ve done it’s just not the kind of game I like to play.

        • AstralWanderer says:

          Jeff P. : “What happens when the developer “moves on” and decides to take down the server?”

          Game over in more ways than one sadly. And if Frontier Developments goes bankrupt then things are likely to be worse with an administrator being appointed to run affairs who will have zero interest in honouring any of David Braben’s “promises” (if anyone still considers his word worth anything).

          However Shamus Young explains the downsides better in his Authorization Servers page at http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1680 which provides an excellent rationale as to why even an honest promise by a developer to “de-DRM” their game may not work out.

          As an aside, some of GOG’s DRM-free offerings are cracked versions with disc-check routines removed by third parties – I can certainly confirm that for Arcanum and Flatout (that one being a third-rate crack since it still tries to install the Macrovision driver and won’t run without it, even though it no longer checks for a disc). GOG claim they supply what they receive from the publishers, so it likely isn’t their fault but it shows the tenuous nature of game patching when a publisher has to rely on sites like GameCopyWorld for DRM-removal.

          alienjd: “I don’t think it would be simple to patch the game for offline play. From what I’ve read the reason you need to be online is because a lot of the economic and political systems are generated by the online players. Offline play uses that data to provide the “single player” game.”

          This could be done by providing regularly updated “universe status” files in the same way that publishers offer game patches for download. Offline players could then choose to use them or not. Ultimately this seems to be more about Braben’s “control mentality” than about technical feasibility.

    • Andy Monks says:

      There is a solo play option but you have to log into the server which is more a copy protection thing which I don’t mind to be fair, it protects the game from pirates and secures it’s future.

  3. Jodet says:

    This was a ‘single player game’ and a ‘multiplayer persistent universe game’ right up until the release. Then the ‘single player game’ basically got dumped.

    I don’t believe they made that decision at the last minute. I believe it was a callous marketing trick to get more people to buy their game. And don’t give me that ‘you can login to the server and play by yourself’ nonsense.

    I don’t want ‘World of Warcraft’ in space. I want X-Wing and Wing Commander, please.

    PS: Different topic – did you know you can donate to spacesector.com? It’s a great page so I just gave them some money. You can too!

    • alienjd says:

      I’ve read on forums that they originally pitched the game as an mmo and when that didn’t bring in a lot of interest/kickstarter money they started talking about single player. I don’t know if that’s true but I’ve read it in a few places.

      • Andy Monks says:

        Some of the community did say there was an issue with the initial pitch on kickstarter but I’m 90% sure refunds were issued to anyone who wanted them, not great to start building a community of players I agree

        • Malichite says:

          I can speak for myself and a bunch more I know about that FDEV only offered refund easily to those that purchased from their official online store in the last few months. If you had something earlier or dated back to the original KickStarter FDEV has been dragging its feet often offering only a partial refunds or more likely radio static, regardless if you participated in early Beta phases or never downloaded a thing.

          Many resorted to credit card/bank charge-backs, PayPal disputes, and recently a bunch that were sick of the inaction since Nov started to issue LBA/MCOL claims before getting any response from FDEV.

          Their promise of refunds was purely a PR move and once that issue was out of the media’s focus they basically did nothing.

        • Evil Azrael says:

          Yeah. They reacted only after I escalated the PayPal dispute. Either their support is quite overloaded or they try to sit it out.

      • AstralWanderer says:

        See the Elite Dangerous FAQ at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461411552/elite-dangerous/description#project_faq_43734 specifically:

        “Update! The above is the intended single player experience. However it will be possible to have a single player game without connecting to the galaxy server. You won’t get the features of the evolving galaxy (although we will investigate minimising those differences) and you probably won’t be able to sync between server and non-server (again we’ll investigate).”

        This was, of course, in response to backer queries and also pretty much a requirement of a “DRM-free” game (that it be playable and installable without needing online access).

        The KS comments section at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461411552/elite-dangerous/comments indicate that the refund situation is far from satisfactory for many backers. I didn’t back E:D myself since their “DRM-free” pledge wasn’t firm enough (it didn’t rule out introducing DRM via updates, which is effectively what has happened) and very glad I stayed out, but such a high profile failure to honour a significant commitment has certainly put me off backing KS computer games projects in future (not helped by a couple projects I have backed to run onto Steam’s DRM, leaving their “DRM-free” commitment to an unspecified future date).

        I’m very much with Vendor-Lazarus in never purchasing games (or other software) requiring online activation. You can never be sure how long the game will be playable for, it limits where and when you can play and it raises privacy and security issues. Gaming should be about enjoyment, not the hassle of jumping through some jackass’s activation system and having to worry about their future longevity.

  4. wileybot says:

    I haven’t played it yet, but the term “mile wide and an inch deep” seems to be catch phrase for EliteD. It should be turned over to the mod community to start adding depth.

    • Gliese581c says:

      That’s another problem of an always online game: there is no way to mod it.

      Initially I was really looking forward to ED, but I was so disappointed by the way Frontier handled the removal of the offline single player, that I didn’t want to be their customer. They lost all my sympathy.

      • True_poser says:

        Well, online games are usually moddable to an extent of reconfiguring the information the client got from the server.
        Also, usual remodels and texture changes do apply (sometimes hindered by the client CRC checks).

        But in case of E:D, the game is a little bit too moddable, with the combat offloaded to peer-to-peer connections between clients, instead of being verified on the server.
        In E:D the loss of a ship greatly hurts your wallet, so no wonder that “modding” the combat stats is lucrative for griefers.

        I’ve read this thread today – https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php?t=111267 – where people are trying to devise some sort of a solution.
        I’m pretty mean, so I won’t hide I laughed a little, as this issue is inherent and unfixable in the system chosen by the devs. The best that can happen is that the devs will lead in the arms race for a while.

  5. DrManhatten says:

    Well I am still not convinced by Elite Dangerous. I’ll give you that at the beginning I was also impressed by the shear scale of things but then I saw Space Engine (http://en.spaceengine.org) considering that this is developed by a single person it puts David Brabben and his whole team pretty much too shame. Granted this isn’t a game yet but the detail and the shear scale of the simulation is enormous and probably even bigger than the Elite Dangerous Universe.

  6. Vendor-Lazarus says:

    I was very interested when I first heard about this game, I love “Space Trading and Combat Simulators” (quite the mouthful).

    Sadly they decided to make it online only and have cockpit mode be the only possible view.

    Needless to say, I won’t be buying this game now.

    Here’s to another year of hoping for Freelancer 2.

  7. Mark says:

    Online only hu? Guess what David Braben, that sneaky little move alone cost you a sale. Here are a few more reasons.

    – No planetary landings.
    – Dumbed down unrealistic flight physics.
    – Overally arcadey feel.
    – Empty, shallow universe.

    The older Elite versions had all these things, true planetary landings, realistic newtonian flight model…etc. Elite Dangerous has basically gone backwards with only better graphics – as usual – to replace lost features. Not good enough.

    I’m sick of buying a game skeleton with the vague promise that future DLC – and of course more money – will eventually put some meat on the bones.

    • Evil Azrael says:

      To be honest, a little more “arcade feeling” over Elite 2 would be nice. Elite 2 was a nice trade simulation, but fighting was quite boring.
      I remember only trying to shoot down a pirate which was circling in 100km distance around while we both were at high sub-c velocity. The only way to get some real action was to align to the docking bay and shot the space station and the police coming out of it. Even the first X game was action-wise much better.

      • Mark says:

        I sort of agree that the circling, jousting combat of Elite 2 could be dull, but that was the best they could do with the space and computing limits granted by 1993 computers.

        Now imagine a modern Elite with proper navigational tools for matching vectors and reducing relative velocity between combatants so that even with true Newtonian motion, combat becomes feasible in real time….

        But they went the lazy route, they went backwards straight into the arcade. They ditched planetary landings, apparently it wasn’t too hard in 1993 but is *way* too hard now. Honestly this game is almost as big a disappointment as Spore. Almost.

    • – no planetary landings (true, but they are coming)
      – dumbed down unrealistic flight (false false false! Awesome, amazing flight model)
      – overall arcadey feel – (No! this feels more like a simulator)
      – empty, shallow universe – (ehhhhhhhh. hard to say. It’s realistically huge which can make it feel empty, but there’s a lot of fun to be had)

      The combat model makes a ton of sense because you interdict in supercruise mode, which tethers your FTL drives and forces you back into Newtonian space at close range. The engagement range is then in the 5km range. Lore-wise, this makes good sense and it makes for really fun battles.

      • Mark says:

        I think the problem here is that we have different conceptions of what a spacecraft simulator actually is.

        Check out a board game called Attack Vector Tactical.

        http://www.adastragames.com/attack-vector-tactical/

        That’s my idea of an accurate space combat *simulator* It is not even remotely like ED and I would sell my soul to play a AAA computer version.

        • True_poser says:

          An AAA is definitely not likely to happen.

          Revolt Games did Homeplanet ten years ago, released an addon and, probably from financial reasons, moved to making a FPS.
          It turned out mediocre and the company went belly up.
          B5:IFH (the same engine, the same lead guy) forums are devoid of life.

          So, a proper newtonian space shooter seems to be very niche and is unlikely to raise funds for A graphics and polish, not to mention AAA.

        • Mark says:

          There is an indie game in development called Torchships which comes close to being a true space combat simulator, at least a lot closer than ED. http://torchships.com/

          But it has been in development for a very long time and is probably unlikely to see a release any time soon.

          Sadly I think you are right, its not likely that we will ever see a AAA space combat simulator which treats space like space. George Lucas has a lot to answer for.

  8. Dark Helmet says:

    Guys, and girls, consider giving this one a chance. It’s not as if they put out total crap like X Universe. The game is totally playable. I can attest to this as I paid to be a beta tester, AKA guinea pig.

    Everyone complaining about online-only – get used to it. As more games go the immersive route, there really is no way your local computer can handle all that data. And considering ED is supposed to be a living Universe, how else would you experience real personalities and tendencies playing alone? The AI in this game really isn’t challenging enough.

    And regarding no planet landings, it’s been documented and mentioned several times, features like this will be added. I’m glad they put out the game at this stage and really didn’t mind paying to help with the development.

    I think most of you will come around if you exercise just a bit more patience and forgiveness. Most likely within several months, with the addition of additional features, this game will win over any skeptics.

    • Evil Azrael says:

      > As more games go the immersive route, there really is no way your local computer can handle all that data.

      Why do you think so? Do you think there is one big fat server with many times more power than your “local computer” for each of the single player game instances?
      Elite 2 packed a whole universum into a disk running on a small 386er…

    • Mark says:

      It was also documented and mentioned that there would be an offline single player mode and look what happened to that. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Planetary landings end up “not fitting their vision” too.

      Also this whole idea of producing a bare bones skeleton of a game and then having to shell out again and again, over a period of months or years to eventually obtain a full game – if you’re lucky – is just abhorrent business practice and I refuse to support it.

    • SQW says:

      People like Dark Helmet is already emotionally invested in E:D so he will unknowingly defend the game despite basing everything on promises.

      Kinda like stockholm syndrome for consumers. Or a lighter version of people who defends obvious mistakes because admitting he/she has made the wrong choice is so psychologically distasteful.

      Dark Helmet probably isn’t even a fan but he does show to general symptom of taking the seller’s promises as facts and making excuses when reality conflicts with those promises.

    • Vendor-Lazarus says:

      I have Never, Ever, bought a game with Online Activation or worse and I’m not about to start now.
      I want to decide when I play the game I bought on my terms.
      What every online apologist forgets is that though developers may talk about releasing offline “later”, they are under absolutely no obligations to do so, period.
      ´05 and onwards will be the forgotten period in gaming history and it’s only thanks to some preservers that games will survive.

      Apathy, ignorance, path of least resistance, sheeple, call it what you will but apologists are those that buy every new CoD, Madden, Fifa, because of “Brand loyalty”.

    • True_poser says:

      > As more games go the immersive route, there really is no way your local computer can handle all that data.

      Nope. Like in “completely wrong” nope.

      Immersiveness is a vague criterion, but it is influenced only by what you directly see and feel as a player. X-series immersiveness is not hurt by simplified physics in all sectors except the one you are in.

      Your local computer is perfectly able to handle all these 25-40 Gbs of a modern AAA game, just because you don’t see the whole game content at the moment and it can be loaded up in time (seamlessly or when you travel between locations).

      Constantly downloading chunks of game content from a server instead of fetching them locally also forces a peculiar monetization model, as all the bandwith you (and tens of thousands of other players) consume isn’t free. Such a model is closer to game streaming services like OnLive which do not (and did not ever) fare well.

      Regarding E:D, the bandwith that solo mode requires is negligible. Depending on your point of view it’s either a crutch to try to counter the lack of content by streaming some user-generated events or just a leash.

  9. thrangar says:

    Well maybe it was because of inactivity, but my account disappeared had to reregestar same account to get here, but it does underline my absolute dislike of FD.

    I buy a beta version 2 days later they tell me there is no offline game play, I try for refund and they tell me you don’t qualify because you logged on!

    Have tried to play since then a few times, bugs take money, stations attack for no reason, ships crash into you, its just an absolute unenjoyable experience from the get go.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Your account was deleted by mistake during a database clean up procedure I had to run to eliminate thousands of spam users. I explained the issue here. Sorry about that :/

      • Jeff P says:

        Yeah, my site account disappeared as well. I was able to re-register using my old name. Spam “users” are a real nuisance for readers, so I can imagine what a true pain they are for site administrators.

  10. In my opinion there is not a single superior space-ship simulator in existence. Get yourself a good joystick and throttle and you will feel like an honest-to-Dog space captain.

    • Mark says:

      Well that’s the problem, a decent space-ship simulator does not presently exist and has not existed since Elite 2. The field is wide open just waiting for someone to make an actual spacecraft simulator that is not the same old boring WWII plane combat in disguise. ED is just the latest in a long line of nearly identical clones which treat space combat like 1940’s air combat.

      If you reduced ED’s graphics to Elite 2 standards, Elite 2 would be far superior in terms of features and simulation accuracy. ED has regressed backwards in all but the visuals, a depressingly common theme with modern computer games.

      How about it Daniel, after Stardrive 2 why don’t you make the 21st century’s first real spacecraft combat simulator which actually treats spacecraft like they’re in space? There’s nothing even remotely like it at the moment.

  11. karvanaama says:

    This game is way too hard to fly and fight. pretty much feel i threw my money away. i have been trying to train and customise controls but to no avail.

    • Jodet says:

      Here’s the thing about gaming: Lots, maybe most, games require an investment in learning and practice before you even get to play the game.

      Sometimes that investment is pretty severe. And the return isn’t that great.

      I strongly believe this is one of those games, so I’m passing. It’s not the money, it’s the time, energy, and aggravation it will take to learn all the little things that should be self-evident, but aren’t.

    • SQW says:

      Can I ask how old are you Karv and what other games do you typically play?

      E:D might be shallow and feature-bare atm but the controls itself is solid. Some veterans of the original are even complaining that it’s too easy to fly in E:D due to the omission of full Newtonian physics.

      E:D is a simulation game whose genre gave us the likes of MS Flight Simulator so be glad we aren’t required to do a 10min take-off checklist every time we undock from a space station. =)

      • karvanaama says:

        i’m 35 years old and i have in past played many games,longest eve online for 6 years and war thunder currently to mention couple.From simulator style spacegames, freelancer, freespace games, starlancer, tachyon and wing commanders and never i have had this much trouble with piloting and fighting. with my current job i just don’t have time to practise my skills like i used to, and elite would require for me lots effort. so that is why i was hoping it to be easier and was disappointed of my failed investment.

      • SQW says:

        Not sure if you are already using a HOTAS setup but I heard it’s superior than Mouse+Keyboard. With flight assist on, the combat doesn’t look that different from say, Tie Fighter.

        • karvanaama says:

          No, i don’t have joystick. never really used one as i am mouse and keyboard man, and i doubt i want to risk losing more money by buying one just to test it with this game. i think i will just count my loss and move on.

        • Andy Monks says:

          I use an X box ONE controller which works just fine when you configure it right.

  12. FireStorm1010 says:

    Privateer was one of my most beloved game (never played ELite somehow), so I bought this game (i followed vaguely the developement, wathing the videos) near release with big anticitpation.

    First reaction: its beautiful. Its really really pretty, and everything matches the tone. Second and third and fourth reactions: i had soem trouble with learnign the basics. It isnt that its very difficult, but the stuuff isnt self explaining, you need to read the manual (at least the most important parts of it) or do the tutorials. I honestly was to long intimidated by the tutorial to play the real game, what worked better for me was to jump into the game, and figure stuff as I went, with the manual.

    So after learning the basics, and the prettiness wore off, i had a bit of same impression that many point out: it feels abit empty and sterile. However recently i started bounty hunting, (still in my only slightly upgraded eagle) and it really is a game changer. Finding the busisest routes, scaning for wanted pilots, ambushing them to pull out of hyperspace, then fighting really brings me alot of fun, and gives me freedom opposite to just runing missions.

    Also i think i havent said it yet: I really like the flight model and combat pace. Its for a very good balance between simultor complexity and totally arcadey approach. Docking/Landing isnt that scary and imho doesnt take so much time, as some complained.

    So overall i think its a good game and i have atm alot of fun with it, but some feeling of emptiness/sterilness remains for me.

    What they could add imho to help this:
    1-Talking at last some catchphrases in dpsvr by pilots. I remember in privateer it made the game much more lively, pilots hailing oyu, pirates cursing you etc. I know there is a text window but its just not the same as speech.

    2-I know there is alot of events on right side, but i honestly dont know if they got any impact on me. ?Ir emeber a simple but very rewarding system in Privateer 2 where events would often result in big trading opportunities, it was worth to go to it even from systems away. So more impacting events.

    3-Make special places, special characters. This mioght be just my feelings opposite to devs vision. Imho milions of proceduraly generated systems is all great and good, but it results int he fact that nothing stands out, and everything is bit same. Make like 200-300 hundred special stations/ with some memorable characters. Make some lgendary pilots storeis that fly around…

    4- Some kind of radio during flight? With some chattign about the current state of galaxy… or at least the news feeds from the station, so you can read it while flying….

    All in all i agree its a 8/10 game and might be even better with time.Ofc you got to like this stuff:)


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